Dozens die in clashes across Iraq | Video | Reuters.com

The beginning of the end of the “Surge Victory”.

Hail Democracy in action!

from www.reuters.com posted with vodpod

UPDATE from McClatchy:

Iraq fighting is worst in months; Maliki issues ultimatum

BAGHDAD — Amid heavy clashes between government forces and Shiite Muslim militants in Baghdad and the southern port city of Basra, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki issued an ultimatum Wednesday demanding that the militias surrender their weapons within 72 hours. Radical cleric Muqtada al Sadr, whose Mahdi Army militia is a prime target of the government offensive, responded by demanding that Maliki leave Basra.

U.S. forces joined Iraqi troops in Baghdad to fight Mahdi Army militants, and police said that at least 20 people had been killed in the Sadr City neighborhood, a stronghold for Sadr’s backers.

The city’s fortified Green Zone sustained a third round of intense mortar fire beginning at 5:30 a.m. that seriously injured three U.S. government employees, according to a statement from the U.S. Embassy. A mortar round struck near Maliki’s office.

With barely functioning hospitals and people holed up in their homes it was unclear how many people had died in Basra. According to health ministry officials in Basra, at least 33 people had been killed and 150 had been wounded in the fighting.

Maliki stipulated in his ultimatum that the militants would be spared if they surrendered their weapons within 72 hours. As he spoke, Sadr called for calm, asking Maliki to leave the Mahdi Army-dominated oil hub of Basra and send a parliamentary delegation to solve the crisis through dialogue, Sadr spokesman Hassan al Zargani said from Tehran, Iran.

In Baghdad, Mahdi Army-dominated neighborhoods remained sealed off, angering residents who couldn’t open their businesses, get to hospitals or send their children to school.

In the south the fighting spread to Kut as Maliki sent more forces from Karbala to supplement the 15,000 troops he already had. U.S. air support attacked targets on major roadways and the homes of suspected weapons smugglers, said Abdel Kareem Khalaf, a spokesman for the Ministry of Interior.

There is but one key reason that the “Surge” has been touted as successful and that reason (The Mahdi Army’s participation in a “truce” along with other factions) is coming unhinged. They will not and CANNOT give up their arms. That would be suicide. This is akin to King George asking the citizens of the New World to give up their weapons. This is akin to destroying their “right to bear arms”, as our Constitution calls.

Democracy in action should not look so much like our colonial rule did to us a few hundred years ago.

Democracy? Yeah, right. The Bush Administration is doing everything it can to demolish democracy everywhere in the world.

Bushie Brilliance

Would anyone be surprised if a nuke hit us, even one of our own? You shouldn’t be.

The clowns running the American Show have made countless errors in protocol and even in sales to other countries that I am not surprised there hasn’t been some devastating accident, or worse.

US told Taiwan ‘dump missile fuses’

The US asked Taiwanese officials to dispose of missile parts it had mistakenly shipped to the island’s armed forces and only asked for them back when they realised they were highly-sensitive nuclear warhead fuses, a senior Taiwanese defence official has said.

The revelation is likely to add to the already considerable US embarassment over the parts blunder.

Four of the cone-shaped fuses were sent to Taiwan in late 2006 instead of helicopter batteries that had been ordered.

The error was only discovered last week.

Duh?

The 55cm-long fuses, which reportedly bear no similarity to helicopter batteries, have since been returned to the US.

Robert Gates, the defence secretary, has ordered an urgent investigation into the error and a through review of policies and procedures related to the country’s nuclear weapons, a senior Pentagon official told reporters on Tuesday.

“Those who are responsible will be held accountable,” said Ryan Henry, principal deputy undersecretary of defence for policy. “The secretary is quite forceful on this.”

China, which strongly opposes US arms sales to Taiwan was also informed of the error, he said.

Well, excuse me if I don’t believe you, in light of all the fuck-ups the administration has conducted with EVERY action it carries out. Worthless and incompetent.

We are being transparent. We have corrected the situation,” he said, admitting that the error was “disconcerting”.

Speaking to reporters, Henry said that in an organisation the size of the US military, mistakes would be made, but that such errors could not be tolerated when they fall in the area of nuclear-related weapons systems.

He said the nose cone and fuse systems were classified but the technology they use dates from the 1960s.

However, Hans Kristensen, an expert at the Federation of American Scientists, told the AFP news agency that the fuses, even if dated, were “hugely important” nuclear weapons components.

For a country like China, that is trying to develop more capable systems, that would be very important material to get. And (for) any country that is even lower on the nuclear threshold scale, having not quite gotten there, would be potentially even more important.”

So, not only is it dubious and dangerous to mistakenly send these parts that look nothing alike (I am sure the storage shelves of nuclear components and batteries are stored side by side) to an ally who has 70 missiles aimed at them, ready to be annihilated, but they also don’t want China to get their mitts on these parts to reverse engineer them. Safety, safety, safety.

The incident was the second major nuclear security breach in less than a year.

Last October it emerged that six nuclear-armed cruise missiles had been flown across the US attached to the wing of a B-52 bomber. The crew were not aware they had been carrying nuclear weapons.

An investigation concluded that the mistaken transfer had resulted from “a series of procedural breakdowns and human errors,” Pentagon officials later admitted.

So with the privatization of our forces, what is the chance that a contractor is to blame? Would we ever hear about it? Do all you rednecks feel secure with knowing these nitwits are making all these devastating mistakes?

In the Taiwan case officials said they did not know as yet how it took so long for the error to have come to light.

The fuses are supposed to be subject to quarterly inventory inspections.

But instead the mistake was only revealed last week following months of discussion with Taiwanese authorities over the missing helicopter batteries they had ordered.

The fuses involved do not themselves contain nuclear material but are housed in the nose cones fitted to nuclear warheads on Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missiles.

They are used to ignite the trigger which then detonates the warhead.

Cool! Nuclear triggers went missing for 1.5 years and no one noticed, but “by God, where are our batteries?”

Let me wager a guess that it would take less than 1.5 years to reverse engineer that technology.

We are led by a group of idiots, rednecks!